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Guest goldfishnut

Gravel-necessary Or Not ?

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Guest goldfishnut

Hi everyone I was just wondering if maybe I don't need gravel in my 20 gal. tank? for one thing gravel seems to be an algae magnet

and a royal pain to keep clean and it starts to look ugly after a while all cons I see no pros about gravel. opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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it is WAY healthier for you fish to NOT have gravel ...not only does it attract algae it harbours bad bacteria and eggs from possible parasites and parasites making it difficult to treat ...most of us here have bare bottoms ..however if you have some in now you will wanto take it out in parts once a week until completly gone cause you do not want to disturb the cycle of your tank ...you will be glad you did it !!! I promise!! :D

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It's really your preference. I removed my gravel but after awhile just got tired of the bare look. So I got some medium rocks & stones to more or less cover the bottom. I do weekly cleaning & REALLY do a good job vaccuuming.

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I used to have gravel in my tank until my baby got a piece stuck in his mouth! It took me over an hour to get it out. :blink: After that freak-out moment, I switched to bare bottom. I do have some glass gems/marbles sprinkled around to spruce it up a bit. I am totally happy to be without the gravel... hope you find a solution that works for you! ;)

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i dont like using gravel for goldfish because one of them died from swallowing a piece

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these are all excellent points about gravel. personally, i like the look of gravel, and do have it in my tank (not my quarantine/hospital tank though), but i really really really vacuum it every time i water change!!!

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my tank is half gravel (larger pieces) and half bare bottom. i have some river rocks dividing the two. (of course, by the end of the week, they've always pushed everything around so i have to re-arrange.) :rolleyes:

i like the look of the gravel on one hand, and i feed sinking pellets that are gravel-colored on the other hand. so the half-and-half works for me.

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Pros:

Gravel gives a natural, pleasant look to the tank.

Gravel allows you to anchor plants, decorations, airstones, airhoses and such easily and out of sight.

Gravel gives the fish something more to do, for they like sifting through the substrate looking for food.

Gravel, to a degree, acts as a platform for some beneficial bacteria that make up the nitrogen cycle. IF your filter's platform is not up to par, the gravel can help quite a bit.

Cons:

Gravel, if the wrong size for the size of fish, can be swallowed - leading to a dangerous condtion.

Gravel can harbor dormant parasites.

Gravel takes away water volume that fish could use - the more volume in many tanks, the better.

Gravel collects debris - and this waste can add to the waste levels of the tank - raising nitrates.

If not kept squeaky clean, when cleaned, gravel can stir up a real mess - stirring up the tank into a slurry of sludge.

Gravel, if too deep, can build up an anareobic bacteria that produces toxic gas as it's byproduct. This gas can collect in pockets. When a fish roots, opening up a pocket of toxic gas, it can be harmed. Some fish (weak and small) could possibly even be killed.

Having a "bare bottom" does not mean that you have no deco in the tank. Large stones, decorations, plants.... all can be used with a "bare bottom" giving a nice "natural" look to the tank. Just think of it as seeing the "middle" of the pond, not the bottom. :)

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That is a great post Daryl.... I think this is a good thread showing why people like barebottom tanks to gravel tanks :D

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I have gravel in my tank and it seems like the fish really enjoy sifting through the gravel for food (and whatever else they're doing). I feel like it makes the tank more pleasant looking and adds a nice color to the atmosphere. if you were to use gravel I would just suggest that you don't put very much, and make sure you vaccuum it often. But not using gravel is fine too, and it takes away the risk of the fish getting it stuck in their mouths.

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Personally I have a bare bottom. It's just easier to maintain.

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I understand the logical reasons behind bare bottoms and I do have to agree with them, but I'm a very visual person so I love the look of gravel and a well decorated tank and I'm willing to go the extra mile to have it. I vacuum very well during water changes. It means taking out all the decorations, but it's worth it to me. My gravel is quite fine, almost like coarse sand. My goldies love to sift through it and it's fine enough for them to spit out without it getting accidentally lodged in their mouth.

Edited by lynda441

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I just now started to understand why so many people stay away from gravel. When I first set up my 29 gallon I put in tons of this teal gravel. It took hours and hours to rinse it clear but it looked so pretty! Then when I came to this board people suggested bare bottom, and I didn't think I would like the look, and I had JUST done all that work with the gravel. But all three of my new fish take the gravel into their mouths. You can see them hold it there while they are eating and I just sit there scared that one of the pieces is not going to get spit back out. Right now the size of the gravel and the size of the fish mouth are way too similar and it scares me. So I decided eventually to start switching out my gravel for a thin layer of decorative stones or marbles. I used a few candle holders and put gravel only in those to help anchor the plants, so I will see how that works out. I still like the look of gravel though. And in the tanks that still have gravel I put a little candle holder that looks like a plate in, and put their food on that. I notice that when they are just picking at the gravel and not eating they don't put it in their mouths as much. But when they are fed, they will suck up gravel along with the food. Crazy fish! lol

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I have 1 Ryukin in a 29G, and have always kept a thin layer of gravel in it. He enjoys picking at it, and it holds good bacteria so that I'm not afraid to do large water changes. Because the layer is thin, it's easy to keep clean. He's fat and large, so the ability to do large water changes without having to worry about compromising the Bio-filtration in my tank, is important to me.

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I never thought I'd go barebottom but now that I have I'm very happy.

I had a few horrible scares with fish getting gravel stuck in their mouths....one even got a small river stone in there!!! So now I have large river stones and seashells. I like it not only because of the lack of choking hazard, I also like that it helps to remind me when I need to clean the tank. (nothing like poo accumulation to make you get that gravel vac out!!!! :P )

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YEAH just in the few DAYS that I have had stones instead of marbles I can already tell how much easier it will be because you can actually SEE the waste!!!! I am already very happy about my decision. I plan on making all the tanks that way. Except for the betta tanks. I don't see any reason to change those since I rinse everything weekly anyway. AND the good thing is, most of the pet stores I've been to charge about 4 dollars for a small bag of those decorative stones or marbles. But at my W mart, they have way bigger bags, for $2, in the craft section! I got 4 bags to cover the bottom of my 29 gallon and it was plenty, if not more than enough. That's actually cheaper than gravel : ) And they had a fairly nice selection of colors. And big ol bags of river rock too.

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I might do this changeover too. Is there any decorative stones or marbles are bad for goldies health. Do I have to look for something before I purchase those stones. Thanks - SandyDoss

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barebottom should be the best choice actually, it's easier to clean. Not mentioning those little gravel can be dangerous for goldfish, many member up here have goldfish that got a gravel stuck in its mouth and actualy die from it.

I use to have barebottom and loved it but i decided to change so i can make it a natural looking planted tank. But I do not use gravel, i use pebbles or river stones, they are bigger, and not as dangerous.

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Gonna chime in with the barebottom folks here :booty

I do like the look of gravel but I am way too busy to put all the effort into its maintenance-- I mean seriously, it's more time intensive to maintain than the fish itself. Personally I don't care that much about how "perfect" my tank looks. I like to look at the fish.

Daryl's posting was probably the best. There are pros and cons to each, and it really is a matter of personal choice. I myself prefer to err on the side of caution and skip the whole gravel thing.

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Joy, your man was actually one of the first people to suggest bare bottom to me and I said "nah I don't wanna change from gravel.. maybe sometime in the future". That sure didn't take long. Thanks Penguin!

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Both my goldie tanks are barebottom except for a small handful of gravel in one spot. This gives the goldies something to pick over which they love to do, but makes life so much easier for me during cleans. The tanks are much healthier too.

I'm actually going to get myself some glass ashtrays or similar and put the gravel in those so that I can put it where I want in the tank and just lift it out if I need too.

Getting rid of a layer of gravel is definitely the best thing I've done for my fish.

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